Long time followers of my blog will realize that I have been silent for some years now. For that I apologize, but I haven’t kept-up my blood pressure log either. I had lost my voice, commonly know as writers block and not wanting to deal with my conditions all the time. So let me catchup on my conditions if I haven’t told you before now.
At the end of 2011 I finally succumbed to a pacemaker and felt alright about it. Got the blood pressure and pulse up to a normal level and could think and felt better. I was in overnight and eventually felt a little more like my old self and told the doctor so. My doctor told me about another procedure that was coming and that I’d be a candidate for in the near future. Called a “Lariat procedure” they poke two holes in you and lasso an appendage on your heart and tie it off so the chances of throwing another stroke are lessened. This is a new procedure so I had to wait for them to get some practice first and then they’d do mine. Because my heart is enlarged a bit they had a thoracic surgeon standing by ready to do it the old fashion way, open heart surgery.
Now this was a much bigger deal, I was warned that I’d be hospitalized for three or four days, in addition to the holes they’d poked in me I have a drain in my chest too, but the good news is I’d have all the pain medication I wanted when I wanted. This seemed like a fair trade so I agreed. When I awoke I looked at my chest to see what they had done to me and if they needed to open me up. Just a small bulb was attached to the drain in my chest, my chest was bruised and sore. I was tethered to the bed by a jumble of wires connecting me to the monitors. So the first thing I asked for was something for pain and I was given my choice between morphine or Fentanyl, never having morphine I tried that and soon learned that the Fentanyl was a much better a pain relief. The trick is to get ahead of the pain because if you feel pain your almost too late. So after getting my shot the nurse turned my bed so I could watch TV more comfortably.
I of course was mesmerized by the tangles of wires that held me to the bed. So I asked if I could sit-up which is a good sign. The nurse helped me to the chair and had to re-clip the leads from my heart so I’d have a little more slack. But still there was this jumble of wires so my movements were limited, but having watched how it was done I knew how to fix that and that no one at the desk would come running. Long story short I fixed the problem with my leads and gave myself more freedom of movement so I could reach the sink and the window as well. As I was in ICU the staff were much more interesting than the TV and it caused quite a stir to see me watching.
What can I say about my stay in ICU, keep your head down and stay alert. Don’t make a pain of yourself and asks for things nicely if you can. After twenty-four (24) hours they took out my catheter and my bladder soon filled to almost bursting and they had to reinsert it hastily. Twice that had to be done because I couldn’t void my bladder on my own. Exercise is the only cure for that so walking was a must once I got out to the general floor. I walked the length of every corridor, even back into the ICU where I was advised to keep walking and I had a chance to thank everyone for my care while on their floor. Even got the chance to flirt a little with the pretty young staff I’d never met. No pain medication on that side of the floor but my freedom was closer and that made up for everything.
Finally a word about medication, after your procedure the same medications may not work as well as they once did. After time medications change and newer medication become available so make sure you keep up to date with your physician. And for heaven sake keep a blood pressure / pulse log so you have data to share with your doctors. I also keep a small diary keeping information on what I feel and what has happened in my life or dates of medications changes. Those changes can throw you for a loop so keep a record of how you feel and what you feel. That log will get you much better care and your doctor will share much more easily if they can see you are interested. Search each medications and procedures before you have them so you’ll be forewarned of any side effects that might be happening to you. And give each procedure a chance to sink in and talk to your friends about what will happen to you and what you expect.
The practice of medicine is exactly that, no one person has all the answers to what ails you and your body. There can be many side effects to different medications and procedures so seek answers. Last of all take all your questions and worries and write them down, show your doctor. They’re time is limited so make it easy on them, get the answers you need.